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Frankly speaking


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Here''s the text of my latest blog. Comments welcome as always!


So we lost 5-1 and took a bit of a pasting in the end. The

Manchester City machine rolled on in its plush surroundings with its urbane

manager and its untold millions. Mario Balotelli came off the bench to further demonstrate

his arrogance and Adam Johnson showed what a good player he is and why being a

bit-part substitute is wasting his career in exchange for Middle Eastern lucre.

Well I’m not jealous. On the contrary the trip to Manchester

City’s ground (ludicrously dubbed ‘The Etihad’ in yet another demonstration of

how football has sold out to Mammon) reminded me forcefully of just how glad I

am to support Norwich City and, I suppose, just how grateful I am that we have

not been taken over by some foreign oligarch.

‘Hang on,’ you might be saying. ‘Wouldn’t you just love

Norwich to be where Manchester City are?’ Well, yes I would but not if that

meant losing my club’s identity, changing the name of the ground, fielding a

team of mercenaries collected from across the globe regardless of price who

have no regard for my club’s identity, history or heritage, and employing David

Platt in a coaching capacity.

I always respected Manchester City in the past. Undoubtedly

the poor relations as far as football in that city is concerned they are

supported by more locals and when I was a kid had some pretty flamboyant

success under Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison, playing an exciting carefree

style of football which catered at various times for the flair of Mike

Summerbee, Francis Lee, Rodney Marsh, Dennis Tueart and Peter Barnes. Their

indomitable supporters stood by the club whatever the situation and (like us)

they still pulled in bumper ‘Blue Moon’ singing crowds when they sank to the

third tier of English football. And I remember being really impressed when I heard

that when Old Trafford suffered bomb damage they even let United play at their

Maine Road ground. I also loved the urban myth their fans created suggesting

that the Uwe Rosler’s granddad was the Luftwaffe pilot responsible for the


Now their seemingly ordinary fans are seriously contemplating

their team becoming one of the most dominant forces in world club football. But

is it really their team? Is it? Really?

I might be wrong but I just don’t think I could identify

with such a disparate bunch, and a bunch of which every member is a massive

star. In my early days as a Norwich fan I had a particular fondness for those members

of the team who seemed not to take their selection for granted but to value it;

I remember the hunger of the young Graham Paddon, the desire of the lanky, almost

awkward, David Cross, the drive of the emerging Darren Eadie and the passion of

the youthful Craig Bellamy. Then later I felt such gratitude when I heard that Darren

Huckerby took a substantial pay-cut to join us (ironically from Man City!). ‘That’ll

do for me,’ I thought.

I have written before of my admiration for Grant Holt’s

ordinariness and it is undimmed; indeed it has been hugely increased this year

as he has accepted his slightly diminished on-field role with good grace and

still contributed massively. I have to be honest and say that I don’t know

either the Manchester City or the Norwich players personally but give me a Holt

over a Balotelli anyday, or a Tierney over a De Jong or a Hoolahan over a

Nasri. I just need to identify with my team somehow, to share my club with

them. I need to believe that they are playing for Norwich because they believe

in the club and not just because they are getting more money than they could

anywhere else.

So honestly I mean it. If some big money sheikh bought Delia

out tomorrow and brought in fifteen top players who’d never heard of Norwich

City, didn’t know a canary from a parrot and weren’t prepared to learn the

words to ‘On The Ball City’ I think I’d have to take up golf!

Manchester City have a great team. They are so good they can

get rid of Carlos Tevez and have not only Balotelli, Johnson and De Jong on the

bench but Joleon Lescott and James Milner too! But give me yellow shirts, Carrow

Road, Captain Canary, Splat the Cat and even that stupid lemur! Give me a bench

containing Declan Rudd, Zak Whitbread and Aaron Wilbraham! Give me ‘On The Ball

City’, inflatable canaries and Delia’s Canary Catering, match pies, Ken

Nethercott, Kevin Keelan and Chris Woods! Give me local boy Dave Stringer,

Duncan Forbes and training on Mousehold Heath, Roy Waller, Chris Goreham and

Neil Adams going mental when we score,  two

fans phoning six-o-six and pretending to be Ipswich supporters.

That’s my Norwich City!

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